My dearest nephew turns 12 on 15-December. To make him feel special, I have written a teeny-weeny story in which he is the protagonist. Hey! Because he is my nephew and I love him. 🙂
The Curious Case of Missing Jaangiris
For Calvin, who loved Shravan with all his heart
The jaangiris are missing; six jaangiris which Thatha bought for Deepavali are missing. Ammamey is confused, Thatha is equally perplexed. When Thatha went to his bedroom to change and when Ammamey was on a call, the jaangiris seem to have disappeared from the kitchen. Nobody entered the house after the jaangiris arrived. The mystery causes immense distress; Thatha and Ammamey know that only one person can solve it.
That’s a boy.
And that’s Shravan.
He arrives in a blink of an eye. Just like most children, Shravan loves solving a good mystery.
No! He doesn’t bring his magnifying glasses or a pen or a notepad. He believes in relying on his sharp brain and sharper memory. At least, that’s what he thinks. But his mother would have expected him to make good use of some tools. Anyway, Shravan is here.
Shravan gathers his family in the drawing room. Ammamey, Thatha, Thichi, Calvin, and Anu present themselves for a quick round of investigation. Thatha and Ammamey sit in the divan, Thichi, Calvin, and Anu sit at their feet, while Shravan drags a chair from the dining table and perches at the edge of it. It is a serious investigation and he does seem serious. Calvin and Anu are not allowed to lick him or play with him. The canine suspects have to follow his rules — sit straight, look into Shravan’s eyes, don’t kill the ants, don’t chew your paws, don’t be distracted, and focus.
“Ammamey, Thatha, did you eat the jaangiris?” asks Shravan in a tone that means business.
They say no in unison. “But Ammamey, you are diabetic. What if you wanted to savour a couple of jaangiris secretly?” On any other day, Ammamey would have chided Shravan for asking such a presumptuous question, but not today. The missing jaangiris have to be found. “Kondhey! Ammamey would never do such a thing. Believe me!”
So, Shravan removes Thatha and Ammamey from the list of suspects. Thichi arrived after Shravan came to investigate. Who else could have eaten the jaangiris? Shravan is sure that a stranger didn’t enter the house. It must certainly be somebody from the family. And then, it dawns on him. The canine suspects avert their gaze as Shravan turns more theories in his head. The black dog and the brown dog wish they could be relieved from the investigation which might turn intense. But Shravan loves a good mystery. He is determined to untie the knots.
He asks Ammamey, Thatha, and Thichi to leave the drawing room. They wait in their bedroom with bated breath. Oh no! What is Shravan going to do to the canine suspects!
Shravan gets up from the chair, kneels down against Calvin and Anu, who are now pretending to be asleep. That’s a sign, Shravan reckons. They are trying to act innocent. If they were not guilty, they could have faced Shravan. Calvin tries to snore, Anu opens her eyes to see if Shravan is still around. Of course, he is there, sitting in front of them, with an answer that just surfaced.
The little detective lifts Calvin’s lips… BAM! There is a tiny piece of jaangiri on Calvin’s gums. He turns Calvin’s face, opens his mouth, and finds more remnants there. Anu now washes Shravan’s face by licking him over and over again, as though she is pleading him to let her go. “Sit Anu Boo! I am not going to hurt you.” She obeys his command. And there! A very small piece of jaangiri on her thin brown lips too.
The case is now closed.
Shravan asks Thatha, Ammamey, and Thichi to join them.
“I am now ready to share my observations with you all and close the case,” begins Shravan, with a trace of pride in his tone. He can be proud all right. He has solved the case. “So! When Thatha was in his bedroom and when Ammamey was on a call, our great friends Calvin and Anu teamed up, entered the kitchen, and wolfed down the jaangiris. You may see the evidence in their mouths,” he lifts Calvin’s lips again. Thatha and Ammamey shoot an accusatory glance at their dogs, but Shravan says it’s not their fault.
Shravan scratches Calvin’s ears as he concludes, “Thatha, you should not have left jaangiris in the kitchen. Calvin and Anu were tempted, and to their surprise, they had access to the food that they were not supposed to eat. Ammamey, you could have put a lid on the container. Now that they have guzzled the jaangiris, I suggest that you shouldn’t give them supper. And most importantly, you both should keep such food away from them. Keep all our snacks on the dining table. Now the case is closed.”
Thatha and Ammamey are visibly glad and relieved, and Ammamey pulls Shravan into a tight embrace and showers him with hundreds and hundreds of kisses. Shravan is embarrassed. But he would never say no to love, he would never forget to share more love, and he would never leave a mystery go unresolved.
“Thatha, please buy more jaangiris. We all want to taste it too!” Thatha steps out right away. “Please wear your shirt before you leave, Thatha,” Shravan runs after him, holding his shirt; the sound of laughter fills their hearts, and Calvin and Anu run their tongues around their lips, slip into a peaceful slumber, and dream of jaangiris.
Ammamey – Maternal Grandmother
Jaangiri – An Indian sweet
Kondhey – Child
Thatha – Grandfather
Thichi – Aunt (Mother’s younger sister)